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April 14, 2015

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
MA: Supreme Judicial Court Backtracks on Alimony Reform Act
By Robert Franklin, Esq., Member of the Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Steve Hitner
Steve Hitner, National Parents Organization
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has issued three decisions in alimony cases that substantially alter the apparent intention of the Alimony Reform Act.  Steve Hitner, now of the National Parents Organization, was a prime mover behind passage of the Act.  The Alimony Reform Act passed the state legislature unanimously.

Prior to the ARA’s passage, Bay State courts routinely ordered permanent alimony that was difficult to modify even if the payer retired or underwent some other change in circumstances.  Additional problems arose when the payee’s financial circumstances improved as when she began cohabitating with another partner.  That system was an artifact of a time in which fewer women worked for a living, so the law protected their well-being post-divorce.  By passing the ARA, the legislature recognized that the circumstances that gave rise to the previous law mostly no longer obtain.

The plain intention of the legislature was to limit alimony payments in duration and to make downward modifications easier and in some cases, mandatory.  Despite that plain intent, courts in the state have struggled to apply the new law. Read more...


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Massachusetts: As With Retirement, So With Cohabitation
By Robert Franklin, Esq., Member of the Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Following up on the Massachusetts alimony rulings by the Supreme Judicial Court, the Chin case, referred to in my previous piece does much the same regarding cohabitation as the Doktor case did regarding retirement. The Alimony Reform Act purports to allow alimony to be modified or terminated in case the payer reaches retirement age or the payee cohabitates with another person for three months or more. Indeed, the language of the statute is not permissive, but mandatory.
"General term alimony shall be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse when the payor shows that the recipient spouse has maintained a common household, as defined in this subsection, with another person for a continuous period of at least 3 months." Read more...
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Establish an Affiliation in Your State

National Parents Organization is working to build a strong affiliate in every state. What will it take to bring National Parents Organization to your state? Leadership. It takes a team of volunteers to organize in your state and to reach out to legislators, media, and other groups who will work with us to make shared parenting the norm.

If you are ready, please contact Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director. Together we can build an affiliate in your state.

 
The Tommaso Vincenti Case: His Daughters Speak Out
April 13, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
What may be the final act of a play that has been, from the start, child abuse by a mother and a legal system against four girls and their father may be seen here (60 Minutes Australia, 4/12/15). I’ve reported many times on the abduction of the four girls by their mother, Laura Garrett, from the only home they’d ever known, Florence Italy, and their father, Tommaso Vincenti. Read more...

Child Support and the Death of Walter Scott
April 12, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The shooting in South Carolina of Walter Scott by police officer Michael Slager has topped the news for several days now (NBC News, 4/10/15). It comes on the heels of other police shootings that have garnered much of the news media’s attention. Unlike those other cases, Slager has been charged with murder in Scott’s killing. The incident, caught on video, showed Scott fleeing his automobile after having been stopped by Slager who then fires eight shots killing him. Read more...

New Ruminations on Work and Family Balance
April 10, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
It’s always interesting to read the ruminations of people who are trying to establish a workable balance between their work lives and their time with spouses and children. That’s particularly true when, as here, the writer is a man and apparently a young one (TechCrunch, 4/4/15). He’s utterly sincere about taking enough time to form and maintain a real, deep and lasting bond with his daughter Ava, who’s now two. And he’s equally sincere about contributing his share of the family income. His wife is employed full-time and of course also cares for Ava. Read more...

Nevada County Pays Settlement to Kids Abused in Foster Care; More to Come?
April 9, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The many failures of child protective agencies are once again costing taxpayers large sums of money. Worse, those sums are being paid because of injuries to children that could have been prevented had the state done its job. We’ve heard this before in state after state. This time it’s Clark County, Nevada whose failure to even minimally oversee the foster parents into whose homes it places children deemed to be at risk caused grave physical harm to children (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/6/15). Read more...

Bias in Family Courts
April 8, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Judicial bias? Are there judges who are blatantly anti-father and pro-mother? Many like to pretend it’s not true, but somehow fathers keep losing the custody wars despite a small avalanche of scientific studies demonstrating children’s need to maintain full, meaningful relationships with both parents post-divorce. Plus, fathers continue to be marginalized in their children’s lives by courts despite their marked increase in hands-on parenting by them. All that is true, but the rate of maternal sole or primary custody in the United States has remain statistically unchanged since at least 1993. Read more...

Mother Thanks Court for Shared Parenting
April 6, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Jennifer L. W. Fink gets it. Here’s her post on a site called Building Boys and it’s a must-read for anyone who’s skeptical of shared parenting (Building Boys, 3/25/15). I don’t have a lot to add to what she says because she pretty much covers the waterfront. Read more...
 

 
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